Lawmakers take closer look at STAAR test

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by JESSICA VESS / KVUE News & Chief Photojournalist SCOTT GUEST

khou.com

Posted on June 19, 2012 at 8:16 AM

Updated Tuesday, Jun 19 at 8:16 AM

AUSTIN, Texas -- State lawmakers are scrutinizing the new state standardized test known as STAAR, State of Texas Assessments Academic Readiness. On Tuesday the Public Education Committee will hold a public hearing regarding the STAAR program.

The committee will consider how much impact the test has over classroom instruction.

"What we hope to do is raise awareness that standardized testing is just one element of measuring success; that it takes a lot more to educate a child," explained Ed Martin of the Texas State Teachers Association.

Lawmakers will consider a potential change to the graduation or testing requirements. The STAAR test affects a student's overall grade. It could keep them from moving on to the next grade and could ultimately keep high school seniors from graduating.

Most districts waived that scoring this past spring in the first round of testing, but it was a one-time waiver. Districts are now preparing for the upcoming school year when the scores will count.

"Most of the teachers we have have been very well prepared in trying to help them get ready for this and not make them feel pressured and stressed out," said Alicia Remaley, whose child attends an Austin School District school.

The Austin ISD is currently holding a sort of summer camp for students who need to raise their scores. More students in Austin struggled with the writing portion of the exam over math and science.

At Tuesday's public hearing lawmakers will take in public input to find out how STAAR is impacting both students and teachers, what role it's playing on instruction and how it's affecting graduation and promotion rates.

The public hearing starts at 11 a.m. For more information on the STAAR camps click here.

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